Dr. Bruno Sobral presents at 20th Annual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology
Infectious disease is one of the most formidable problems being faced in the world today. Recent emergence of new pathogens, antibiotic resistant strains of existing pathogens, and re-emergence of diseases thought to be eliminated have pointed out the importance of research to understand infectious diseases. The threat of pandemic from a novel strain of influenza or other viruses is ever present. Understanding the mechanisms of pathogenesis and the complex interplay between host and pathogen is extremely important but in large part has eluded scientific investigation. Pathogens have smaller genomes than their hosts, are present in far larger numbers than their hosts and evolve much more rapidly. Host defense systems are sophisticated and they have the ability to respond to a wide variety of pathogens. The interaction between host and pathogen is complex and involves many iterative responses on both sides in a struggle for survival. New insights into host-pathogen interactions will allow development of novel therapeutic strategies to combat disease.
The development of high-throughput data acquisition methods has prompted an explosion of systems-level data on host-pathogen systems that requires sophisticated and multi-faceted computational modeling approaches to interpret. There is a vast amount of knowledge about pathogens, hosts and their interactions in the form of scientific literature and a myriad of databases. Organization and interpretation of this information can allow a broader understanding of infectious disease processes. The interaction between host and pathogen is nuanced and complicated. Understanding these interactions requires systems biology approaches that aim to elucidate the relationships between components in the system and how these relationships give rise to higher order phenotypes such as pathogenesis.
Addressing these complicated issues requires sophisticated computational modeling approaches that involve statistical and mathematical models, high-throughput data analysis, integration of diverse forms of data, and working closely with the bench biologists, clinicians and epidemiologists who are investigating infectious disease. The community represented at ISMB is perfectly positioned to confront these problems. Our proposed session would highlight key approaches taken by leading investigators to answer crucial questions related to infectious diseases. It would serve to spur discussion in the computational biology community about this important problem.